Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Book Review - Fanciful Findings by Holly Witt-Allen

This is more a booklet than a book, but it is still 32 pages full of ideas and inspiration for using unusual objects in your jewellery pieces. In all, there are 22 projects for designs ranging from standalone bracelets to matching necklaces and earrings, all using recycled/upcycled components, or materials that look like they are!

Those who like to take a mixed media approach to jewellery making will love the techniques used in this book. 
Corks, clocks and cogs
You will have opportunities to use rubber stamps, d├ęcoupage and dimensional finishes in some of the pieces alongside more conventional knotting and linking techniques. Whilst some projects will require you to search out unusual components such as hex nuts or hinges, others can be made using items you’d easily find at home including ring pulls from fizzy drink cans, bottle tops and corks. 

Stamps and sweetie tins
In addition to these ‘found objects’, you’ll also find ideas for using pseudo second-hand components often found online at scrapbooking and papercraft suppliers. Tim Holtz Ideology® range is a particular collection that springs to mind. With the addition of metal patinas, paint or paper, Holly will show you how to transform run-of-the-mill supplies into unique components and quirky designs. I particularly like the necklaces made from sweetie tins and simple stamping techniques.

The projects are beautifully photographed and the instructions have accompanying images to make them as clear as possible. You’ll also find a reference at the back of the book, explaining all the jewellery techniques required which helps to keep the project instructions as uncluttered as possible.

My only slight criticism of this book is that the materials lists for projects are rather long — you could find yourself searching for a while for some of the specific components. However, try substituting some of the supplies with similar products you have in your stash for a similar overall effect and don’t be afraid to mix ideas from different projects to suit the supplies you already have to hand.

Here’s a variation on the cork bracelet I made using a Prosecco cork and a Rioja cork from the collection I keep in a pot (they come in handy for all sorts of things!). The 'Leap' connector is made using a J-Lynn Jewels decoupage disc. The watch faces are from a job lot I bought on Ebay a while ago, simply stuck to cork slices. The pretend typewriter keys are made using clock charms with domed stickers adhered to them (the stickers came from Home Bargains discount store!). The cogs are from Big Bead Little Bead and the verdigris patina padlock charm and donut bead are from the range of Greek Metal components at Smitten Beads, as is the flower cog bead.  I don't remember where I found the little keys or clasp but I'm sure you can find similar online. And btw - the secret to turning cork slices into connectors? Tiny brass picture loops which simply screw in!

We have a copy of this book to give away

To enter into the draw to win, simply comment on this post and tell us the most unusual component or technique you’ve used in a jewellery piece. Look out on our Facebook page for a second chance to comment and win!

We will pick a winner at random on Monday 4th April after midday and announce on our Facebook page.

Fanciful Findings is published by Leisure Arts Inc. and is available from Amazon, priced at £7.00

ISBN 978-1-4647-3352-9


  1. Oh, this is SO ME! I make jewellery & am about to embark on a silversmith course. For that, I have many items saved to use in my pieces. So far, I've used cogs, old watch parts, curtain rings, wrapped stones & pebbles... the list goes on including sinking bits&bobs into Utee & making into links. I am dreaming of jewellery being a part of my future living. With a book like this, I can only be more inspired! Fingers crossed to win!? Ty for opportunity. C

  2. Looks like quite a good book to have! I think the most unusual 'ingredients/technique' I've used is melted Utee with a rubber stamp impression for a die cut grungeboard flower pendant that I created a while ago.

  3. Looks like quite a good book to have! I think the most unusual 'ingredients/technique' I've used is melted Utee with a rubber stamp impression for a die cut grungeboard flower pendant that I created a while ago.

  4. OOh a new book -looks inspiring :) I think the most unusual ingredient I have used in my own jewellery could be beetle wings? Or possible the tiny porcelain dolls dug up from outside the German factory where they were made and buried when they were too superstitious to throw them away!


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